"THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW" Introduction To The Sermon On The Mount (5:1-2) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

            Introduction To The Sermon On The Mount (5:1-2)


1. In Matthew 5-7, we have recorded the most famous sermon that has
   ever been preached...
   a. Commonly referred to as "The Sermon On The Mount"
   b. It has touched more hearts, and in turn has sparked more sermons than any other

2. In Mt 5:1-2, the setting for the sermon is given...
   a. He saw the multitudes that were following Him - Mt 4:25
   b. He therefore ascended a mountain
      1) Many believe this refers to a natural amphitheater between the
         "Horns of Hattin", on a slope that arises above Capernaum (Believers' Study Bible)
      2) This may be the same occasion as "The Sermon On The Plain" - cf. Lk 6:17-49
   c. When His disciples came to Him, He sat down and began to speak
      1) It was common to speak while sitting, rather than standing as we do today
      2) Cf. Mt 13:1-2; Jn 8:2

3. What is Jesus talking about in this sermon?
   a. What is the main "THEME?"
   b. What is the "CONTENT" of this sermon?

[In this study we shall introduce "The Sermon On The Mount" by seeking
to answer these two questions.  To begin, let's determine...]


      1. In Mt 3:1-3, we read of the preaching of John the Baptist
         a. Who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord
         b. The theme of his preaching concerned "the kingdom of heaven"
      2. In Mt 4, we read of the beginning of Jesus' ministry
         a. After His temptation, Jesus preaches a message similar to John's - Mt 4:17
         b. His preaching in Galilee pertained to the "gospel of the kingdom" - Mt 4:23
      -- Could Jesus' theme be "the kingdom of heaven"?

      1. "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:3
      2. "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:10
      3. "...shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:19
      4. "...shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:19
      5. "...will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 5:20
      6. "Your kingdom come" - Mt 6:10
      7. "But seek first the kingdom of God" - Mt 6:33
      8. ". . . shall enter the kingdom of heaven" - Mt 7:21
      -- Isn't Jesus talking about "the kingdom of heaven"?

[Both the setting and His repeated use a particular phrase should lead
us to conclude that the "theme" of Jesus' sermon on the mount is:


With this in mind, let's briefly consider the "content" of the sermon
as I offer the following outline...]


      1. Their character and blessedness - Mt 5:3-12
         a. Qualities to be found in those who will be citizens of this kingdom
         b. The blessings enjoyed by these citizens
      2. Their relation to the world - Mt 5:13-16
         a. They are the salt of the earth
         b. They are the light of the world

      1. In contrast to the "traditional interpretations and
         applications" of the Law - Mt 5:17-48
         a. Jesus has not come to destroy or show disrespect to the Law
            1) It will not pass away until it is fulfilled
            2) Those who violate it teach contrary to it (while it
               exists) will be least in the kingdom
         b. Jesus does require that the righteousness of those in the
            kingdom exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees
         c. He illustrates by a series of contrasts concerning:
            1) Murder and anger
            2) Adultery
            3) Divorce
            4) The swearing of oaths
            5) The taking of revenge
            6) The treatment of enemies
            -- In each case His teaching is consistent with the Law,
               but not the traditional interpretations and applications
               of the Law
      2. With respect to man's relation to God - Mt 6:1-33
         a. Charitable deeds
         b. Prayer
         c. Fasting
         d. Materialism
         e. Anxiety
      3. With respect to man's relation to man - Mt 7:1-12
         a. Judging others
         b. Asking, seeking, knocking
         c. The golden rule
      1. The "beginning" of the way - Mt 7:13-14
         a. It will be narrow and difficult
         b. Not many will find it
      2. The "progress" along the way - Mt 7:15-20
         a. Beware of false prophets who are wolves in sheep's clothing
         b. You will know them by their fruits
      3. The "end" of the way - Mt 7:21-27
         a. In which "sayers" will be contrasted with "doers"
         b. In which "hearers" will be contrasted with "doers"


1. In view of its content, we can appreciate why this sermon has been called...
   a. The Magna Carta of His Kingdom
   b. The Manifesto of the King

2. Our next study will begin a look at the sermon in closer detail...
   a. With the first of two lessons on "The Beatitudes" - Mt 5:3-12
   b. In which we examine the character and blessedness of those who
      are citizens of the kingdom of heaven

Have you responded to the exhortation to enter the kingdom?  Remember
the words of our Lord to Nicodemus...

   Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you,
   unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

   Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old?
   Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

   Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is 
   born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

                                         (Jn 3:3-5)

Have you been born again of water and the Spirit?  - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac

God’s Love and Christian Perseverance byEric Lyons, M.Min.


God’s Love and Christian Perseverance

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

There is no greater knowledge in the world than knowing one is saved by the loving Creator and Savior (1 John 5:13)—that one is a member of the blood-bought body of Christ that Jesus will one day take home with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). Though sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), knowing that Jesus paid the debt for sin (Acts 20:28), knowing that one has become a recipient of the gift of salvation (see Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; see also Lyons and Butt, n.d.), and knowing that no outside forces, not even Satan, are strong enough to separate a Christian from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39), Christians should be the happiest people on Earth. No one can force a saved person from the spiritual safety found in Christ Jesus (John 10:28). No one is strong enough to take away the Christian’s gift of salvation. No one can make a saved man live in sin. No one can separate a follower of Christ from the love of Christ!
But, do not mistake Christ’s love (1 John 4:8), the power of His soul-cleansing blood (1 Peter 1:18-19), or the promise of spiritual safety (Romans 8:35-39) for a free pass to disobey the Master without suffering eternal consequences (cf. Romans 6:1). Although many have bought into the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” (i.e., a Christian can never fall out of favor with God), Scripture repeatedly denies such a claim.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mathew 6:14-15). What will happen to a forgiven Christian who becomes unforgiving? God will not forgive him of his sins. What happened to the servant who was previously forgiven an enormous debt, but later failed to forgive the small debt of another? “His master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers” (Matthew 18:34). “So,” Jesus said, “My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (18:35). When a person receives the gift of salvation (through confessed faith, repentance, and immersion in water—Acts 2:38; 8:26-40; 16:30-34; 22:16) and becomes a Christian, God forgives him of his debt. If he, however, becomes hardened and unforgiving, God will “deliver him to the torturers” (Matthew 18:34; 25:31-46).
The Bible nowhere teaches that Christians who, for example, lose their first love or who become lukewarm are still in a right relationship with God. Jesus never said that hypocrites are still saved. To the Christians in Ephesus who had lost their first love, Jesus said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5, emp. added). Christians who become lukewarm cannot remain in that state and expect to receive “the crown of righteous” on Judgment Day. Lukewarm Christians must “repent,” or, Jesus said, “I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:19,15-16). Unlike imperfect, yet saved, Christians who are striving to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:5-10), impenitent Christians defiantly living in sin are in a lost state and must repent in order to begin walking in the light again. A Christian should not expect to inherit heaven if he does not remain faithful to Christ. Jesus taught: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Christians should rejoice that no one can forcefully take the gift of salvation away from them. But, it is possible for Christians to lose hold of their own salvation (i.e., “fall from grace,” Galatians 5:4) by willfully becoming disobedient to the Master, Jesus Christ. Christians may choose to walk in darkness (becoming unforgiving, unmerciful, lukewarm, etc.), and thus forfeit their eternal life with God in Whom there “is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Or, Christians can choose to “walk in the light as He is in the light,” and forever remain in a saved state, having the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanse all sin (1 John 1:7-9).


Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation, [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/Taking%20Possesion%20of%20God%20Gifts.pdf.

God Hardens Whom He Wills? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


God Hardens Whom He Wills?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Over the centuries, people have rejected Christianity for many reasons. Tragically, some have done so as the result of misconceptions regarding what the Bible actually teaches. They have heard individuals who claim to be Christians expound what they claim are Christ’s teachings. The hearers assumed that Christ’s teaching was being represented accurately, but recognizing the self-evident flaws in the presentation they heard, falsely concluded that Christ’s teaching was contradictory, when, in reality, the problem was in the one who purported to present correct Bible teaching.
One major cause of unbelief among those who have concluded that Christianity is false has been the advocacy of Calvinism. The rational, logical mind recognizes that a perfect, infinite God would not create beings in His own image (Genesis 1:27) that are not free moral agents responsible for their own decisions. Nor would He allow them to be subjected, through no fault of their own, to a condition of depravity, inherited from their parents, that makes them incapable of exercising their free moral agency to choose to accept or reject Him. Since a substantial segment of Christendom has promulgated Calvinism for over five centuries, multitudes of people unfortunately have assumed that the New Testament endorses Calvinistic tenets.
One passage that has been alleged to teach that God’s sovereignty means that He is free to override human will or do whatever He pleases (see Miller, 2003), though His actions interfere with human choice, is found in the New Testament book of Romans:
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated” (Romans 9:6-13, emp. added).
The parenthetical material is typically interpreted to mean that God decided to save Jacob and reject Esau before either was born, and without regard to any action of good or evil on their part. Of course, such an interpretation rips the verse from its context and places God in an unfavorable light.
In stark contrast, the context of the statement demonstrates that the apostle was referring to God’s plan to bring Christ into the world by means of the genetic line of Abraham and his descendants. Even though the bulk of the Jewish nation ended up rejecting Christ and the Gospel, God’s word concerning Abraham’s descendants was still fulfilled. How? “They are not all [spiritual—DM] Israel who are of [physical—DM] Israel.” In other words, Paul insisted unequivocally that the original promise to Abraham to bless the world was fulfilled in Christ, the Gospel, and the church of Christ—not in the fleshly, physical nation of Israel. To be physically descended from Abraham does not make one a spiritual child of Abraham. As John asserted: “And do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Matthew 3:9). Genetic offspring are “a dime a dozen.” Only spiritual descendants—i.e., those who trust and obey God, are genuine children of Abraham.
Consequently, no person has a right to maintain that simply because he descended physically from Abraham, he shares in the promise of salvation in Christ. After all, Abraham had other sons who could claim the same genetic connection to Abraham (Genesis 16:15; 25:1-2). But it was through Isaac that God chose to bring the Christ. Abraham’s other fleshly sons were not “children of the promise,” i.e., through whom God promised to bring Christ. When a person today obeys the Gospel in order to become a Christian, that person becomes a child of the promise, and then is counted as the seed of Abraham, regardless of physical nationality (Romans 4:11-12; Galatians 3:29).
Further, a person might argue that God chose Isaac over Ishmael because Hagar was not Abraham’s real wife. But what about Isaac’s sons? They were full brothers, in fact, twins, and Esau was the firstborn. Yet God selected Jacob through whom to work out His redemptive plan—a selection that did not determine Jacob’s salvation status. Two quotations from the Old Testament prove Paul’s point—the first from Genesis 25:23, and the second from Malachi 1:2-3. In both, the focus is on the two nations that eventually descended from Jacob and Esau, i.e., Israel and Edom. God was not unjust when He made the selections He made to carry out His plans to bring Christ. The Jew might tend to feel that since God chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through whom to work, then every physical descendant should be spiritually acceptable to God. Here, indeed, is the number one misconception of the nation of Israel throughout Bible history, as well as a major point of confusion for the Calvinistic misrepresentation of the sovereignty of God. When it comes to personal, individual salvation, everyone is treated impartially, as an individual. Genetic descendants of Abraham have no spiritual advantage over anyone else. Paul continued:
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (Romans 9:14-21, emp. added).
The words that God spoke to Moses, found in Exodus 33:19, were designed to encourage him not to give up on his leadership role. God had brought the nation out of Egypt, despite Pharaoh’s opposition. No one could keep God from doing what He deemed necessary to achieve His plan to bring Christ into the world. God showed the Israelites great compassion and mercy in His physical treatment of them through the centuries. But He shows spiritual compassion (i.e., He imparts salvation) to everyone equally on the same gospel terms, i.e., on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross.
The Jews were constantly in a dither (“willing” and “running”—vs. 16) as they asserted their favored status to the exclusion of Gentiles. But God never intended to show gospel mercy on the basis of ethnic linkage to Abraham. His exclusive selection of Abraham was for the singular purpose of bringing Christ into the world that the entire human race might have access to forgiveness of sin. The Jewish nation misinterpreted the coincidental racial aspect of God’s dealings through them. To bring Christ, God had to make choices of people to use. But His choices had nothing to do with each individual’s own personal salvation.
Pharaoh provides a good illustration of how God worked in this regard. God purposed to show mercy to the people of Israel that they might leave Egypt, go to the Promised Land, and further advance God’s plan to bring Christ into the world. So God sent Moses to present God’s words to Pharaoh. The demand to release the people, however, only served to “raise up,” i.e., arouse, incite, or stir up Pharaoh (see Thayer, 1901, p. 222; Alford, 1877, 2:409; Vincent, 1890, 3:105; cf. Psalm 80:2). On his own volition, Pharaoh opposed God’s plan. His defiance created conditions under which God’s name was publicized to the world, alluded to in the quotation of Exodus 9:16.
Still, God gave Pharaoh opportunity after opportunity to change his mind—ten separate plagues and multiple visits from Moses (who repeatedly articulated God’s word to him). But this prolonged engagement (the longsuffering of God) resulted in giving Pharaoh more opportunities to be hardened in his rebellion—contrary to God’s will for him. Because God was the initiator and instigator of the circumstance, it may properly be said that He did the hardening. God confronts all people through circumstances and His Word, but each person is responsible for his or her own separate, individual reactions. [For a discussion of the sense in which God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, see Butt and Miller, 2003.]
But if God showed mercy to the Israelites by allowing them to escape Egyptian slavery, and if God destroyed Pharaoh for resisting His will, why then did God find fault with the Jews of Paul’s day? Why would God find fault with anyone whose heart is hardened by His demands? The answer lies in the fact that God has the divine right to use His own methods to bring about salvation for the world without interfering with our choices. Here is a marvelous feature of the sovereignty of God—His ability to work out His own purposes while simultaneously allowing the human agents involved to exercise their own free will and make their own choices. God can incorporate human beings into His overarching redemptive plans regardless of the personal choices humans make. Consequently, no one can rightfully accuse God of mistreating him or her. In fact, truth be told, human heartaches are often self-generated (cf. 1 Peter 4:15).
Thus throughout the context of Romans 9-11, Paul was not discussing personal salvation. Each individual decides salvation by the choices he or she makes. Paul was writing about how God can, and has, made use of people and nations in history to bring to fruition His grand plan of salvation. One Old Testament passage clarifies the concept:
“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” ’ ” And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:6-12, emp. added).
This passage demonstrates that people make their own choices to do evil or good, to obey or disobey God. But God can work over, under, around, or through people—depending upon their personal choices. Either way, God achieves His will while simultaneously allowing each individual to make his or her own decisions and cinch his or her own fate. In that sense, and only in that sense, He is a potter with putty in His hands (cf. Isaiah 29:16; 45:9). Each individual decides their own conduct, and God then uses them accordingly.
God must show His wrath against sin and punish sin by His power (Romans 1:18). But He is longsuffering in that He does not want anyone to perish, as illustrated by how long He put up with Pharaoh’s stubborn resistance. Similarly, He tolerated Noah’s generation for many years before bringing the Flood, and He bore with the Israelites throughout their defiant history. They were “prepared for destruction”—in the sense that they chose to so fit themselves, and did everything possible to achieve it. But such was not God’s desire for them:
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds (Romans 2:4-6).
Nor is it God’s desire for anyone today:
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.... Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation (2 Peter 3:9,14-16; cf. 1 Timothy 2:4).
The nation of Israel had a long history of preparing itself for destruction—which finally came in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. In the meantime, God endured them with much longsuffering. Why? “That He might make known the riches of His glory.” That is, He was working out His scheme of redemption. He put up with the unbelieving Jews, allowing them to proceed down the pathway of their own self-appointed destruction (Matthew 23:32), until He could bring Christ, and then get the Gospel disseminated to the Gentiles (Acts 18:5-6; Colossians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). The church of Christ was launched in A.D. 30 in the city of Jerusalem, the heart of Israel, and consisted only of Jews for several years. God could not instigate due punishment upon the Jewish nation at that point without endangering the infant church of Christ. He waited until the Gospel went forth from Jerusalem to “the end of the earth” Acts 1:8), enabling the Gentiles to be introduced to the Gospel (Acts 10). This accounts for the “lag time” between A.D. 30 and A.D. 70.
The book of Romans cannot be used successfully nor legitimately to maintain the doctrine that God can do anything He chooses without regard to human decision-making and free moral agency. Unlike the imaginary deities conjured up in the minds of misguided men, the God of the Bible is shown to be perfect, possessing attributes of excellence to a perfect degree. He is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.


Alford, Henry (1877), The Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980 reprint).
Butt, Kyle and Dave Miller (2003), “Who Hardened Pharaoh’s Heart?,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2259.
Miller, Dave (2003), “Things God Cannot Do,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2292.
Thayer, Joseph H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Vincent, M.R. (1890), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint).

God and the Tsunami by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


God and the Tsunami

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

The death toll is staggering: 150,000 and counting. On December 26, 2004, an underwater earthquake—which registered at 9.0 on the Richter scale—resulted in massive tidal waves from the Indian Ocean, wreaking death and devastation across portions of a dozen nations (Djuhari, 2004). Tsunamis are a series of very long waves generated by any rapid, large-scale disturbance of the sea. Most are generated by sea floor displacements from large undersea earthquakes (“Tsunamis,” 2004).
As shocking as this event may seem, many other natural disasters have occurred in human history that exceed the recent tsunami in their toll of death and destruction. For example, throughout China’s history, extensive flooding has occurred countless times as a result of the mighty 3,000-mile-long Hwang Ho River. Several of the most terrible floods, with their ensuing famines, have been responsible for the deaths of more than a million people at a time. The southern levee of the river failed in Hunan Province in 1887, affecting a 50,000 square mile area (“Hwang Ho,” 2004). More than 2 million people died from drowning, starvation, or the epidemics that followed (“Huang He,” 2004).
In reality, such events have occurred repetitiously throughout the history of the world, and continue to do so—constantly: hurricanes, cyclones, earthquakes, tornados, floods, tsunamis, droughts, and volcano eruptions. In fact, natural disasters kill one million people around the world each decade, and leave millions more homeless, according to the United Nation’s International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (“Disasters...,” 1997).
This circumstance inevitably elicits the pressing question: “Why would God allow such loss of life, inflicted on countless numbers of seemingly innocent people?” The number one argument marshaled by atheists to advocate their disbelief in God is the presence of widespread, seemingly purposeless suffering. They insist that if an infinite Being existed, He would exercise His perfect compassion and His omnipotence to prevent human suffering (e.g., Lowder, 2004; cf. Jackson, 2001). Even for many people who do not embrace formal atheism, the fact that God apparently seems willing to allow misery and suffering to run rampant in the world, elicits a gamut of reactions—from perplexity and puzzlement to anger and resentment.
But the Bible provides the perfect explanation for such occurrences. Its handling of the subject is logical, sufficient, and definitive. It sets forth the fact that God created the world to be the most appropriate, suitable environment in which humans are enabled to make their own decisions concerning their ultimate destiny (Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). We humans have been provided with the ideal environment in which we may freely accept or reject God’s will for our lives. All instances of natural disasters and nature’s destructive forces are the result of specific conditions that are necessary to God’s providing humanity with this ideal environment.
God is not blameworthy for having created such a world, since He had a morally justifiable reason for having done so. Human existence on Earth was not intended to be permanent. Rather, the Creator intended life on Earth to serve as a temporary interval of time for the development of one’s soul. Life on Earth is a probationary period in which people are given the opportunity to attend to their spiritual condition as it relates to God’s will for living. Natural disasters provide people with conclusive evidence that life on Earth is brief and uncertain. [NOTE: For further study on this thorny issue, see Thompson, 1997, and Warren, 1972.]
Christians understand that no matter how catastrophic, tragic, or disastrous an event may be, it fits into the overall framework of soul-making—preparation for one’s departure from life into eternity. Likewise, the Christian knows that although the great pain and suffering caused by natural disasters may be unpleasant, and may test one’s mettle; nevertheless, such suffering is not intrinsically evil. Nor is it a reflection on the existence of an omnibenevolent God. The only intrinsic evil is violation of God’s will. What is required of all accountable persons is obedience to God’s revealed Word (given in the Bible)—even amidst pain, suffering, sickness, disease, death, and, yes, tsunamis.


“Disasters: A Deadly and Costly Toll Around the World” (1997), FEMA News, [On-line], URL: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/stats.pdf.
Djuhari, Lely (2004), “Asia Rushes to Bury 67,000 Tsunami Victims,” Seattle-Post Intelligencer, December 29, [On-line], URL: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apasia_story.asp?category=1104&slug=Quake Tsunami.
“Huang He, or Hwang Ho” (2004), Britannica Student Encyclopedia, [On-line], URL: http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article?tocId=9274966.
“Hwang Ho” (2004), LoveToKnow 1911 Online Encyclopedia, [On-line], URL: http://32.1911encyclopedia.org/H/HW/HWANG_HO.htm.
Jackson, Roy (2001), “The Problem of Evil,” The Philosopher’s Magazine Online, [On-line], URL: http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/rel_six.htm.
Lowder, Jeffery (2004), “Logical Arguments From Evil,” Internet Infidels, [On-line], URL: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/nontheism/atheism/evil-logical.html.
Thompson, Bert (1997), “Divine Benevolence, Human Suffering, and Intrinsic Value,” Reason and Revelation, [On-line], URL: http://apologeticspress.org/articles/198.
“Tsunamis” (2004), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), [On-line], URL: http://www.noaa.gov/tsunamis.html.
Warren, Thomas (1972), Have Atheists Proved There Is No God? (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press).

Storing Sand & Letting Gold Go Free by Jim McGuiggan


Storing Sand & Letting Gold Go Free

Paul was raging his way northward to find followers of Jesus Christ when he met Jesus Christ Himself on the road. The Lord had a brief but far-ranging talk with the now blind man and led him by the hand to the baptistery where Paul took on him the name of the Lord Jesus. He lived in a new world from that moment on and with the eyes of his heart wide open he found it astonishing, thrilling, demanding, painful and pleasing, confusing and assuring and the name of Jesus was never away from his lips.
He was happy to debate when he had to, he suffered when he couldn’t avoid it, he was sad when the occasion warranted it and he rejoiced like Snoopy in those hours of reflection when he heard within the gospel music of God. He was Lazarus unbound (Keck), free to live and proclaim good news about a God who said to the weary world through the prophets, “I’m coming to be with you in your trouble,” and kept His word. And when He arrived He took on Him the name: “Jesus of Nazareth”.
Paul was well schooled in the hot topics of his day and like Chesterton’s Lazarus, back from the dead, he’d stop and listen to the wise ones prove this and that and prove there is no life after death, not now or ever—all there is is this gloomy world of death now and death later. Then he’d stride off in the name of his Lord Jesus and murmuring to himself,
The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.
We can barely keep up with him as he goes in the name of his Lord Jesus raising the dead by the power of that name and establishing little congregations of life all over the place. They were congregations of living people who served their course and left this world but not before the resurrection life had become contagious and remains contagious to this day after nearly 2,000 years bringing wide-eyed people out of tombs into a new creation. And the life that Paul carried within him was indeed resurrection life (Ephesians 2:1-6; Colossians 2:10-12 and 3:1-4). It didn’t and doesn’t apologize for existing. It doesn’t beg Sin or Death’s permission to be alive. This is resurrection life that’s generated and guaranteed by the resurrection life of the resurrected Lord Jesus; that’s what Paul preached and embodied as he went about transforming the world while others ran behind him jeering and showing their letters of recommendation written on paper with ink! (2 Corinthians 3:I-3) I like now and then to imagine Paul and His Lord spending some time looking at the deathless life that continues to spring up all over this planet (even now) as fruit of Paul’s ministry and the Lord looking at him and saying, “I trusted you and you served me wondrously well. Look again at all that and be happy!”
(Holy Father, thank you for Paul and for all those people you provided to keep him on his feet in good faith! And thank you for all those who in faith and proclamation even now in their own unheralded ways image Paul as he imaged you and your indwelling Son (Ephesians 5:1-2) in whose name, this payer.)

COULD PRIDE BE THE PROBLEM? by steve finnell


COULD PRIDE BE THE PROBLEM? by steve finnell

Could pride be the reason men misinterpret Scripture? Adam and Eve believed Satan rather than believing God. They had a pride problem. Genesis 3:1-12.......5...you will be like God.... (NASB) Eve wanted to be like God. She later admitted that she had been deceived. (Genesis 3:13). Most who are deceived by false teaching never put pride aside and admit they have been deceived.

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.(NASB)

Which would indicate pride? The Scripture or the opinion and interpretation of Scripture

1. Scripture: Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. (NASB)

2. Opinion & Interpretation: He who has believed is saved and should be baptized as a testimony of his faith.

3. Opinion & Interpretation: He who has believed is saved by faith alone, and immersion in water is not essential in order to be saved.

4. Opinion & Interpretation: He who believes has been selected for salvation and those who do not believe have been selected to burn in hell.

5. Opinion & Interpretation: He who believes is saved, but there are other ways to the Father.

6. Opinion & Interpretation: He who is baptized as an infant is saved without believing.

7. Opinion & Interpretation: He who believes is saved, however, must be baptized to enter  the denominational church of his choice. He can get to heaven by "faith alone," however, he cannot be a member of the Baptist Church by "faith only."

8. Opinion & Interpretation: He who believes and has been spiritually baptized shall be saved. Water baptism is not essential for salvation.

When pride enters into interpretation of Scripture; confusion follows.

Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. (NASB)

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom. (NASB)

Scripture interprets Scripture. Prideful men give personal interpretations and opinions of Scripture.

Prayer is the cure for PRIDE! 

How can one be born again? by Roy Davison


How can one be born again?
Text: John 3:1-12
Nicodemus did not understand. He had a positive attitude toward Jesus. He believed that Jesus was sent by God and he called him ‘rabbi’. He knew the Scriptures since Jesus refers to him as a ‘teacher of Israel’ (John 3:10). Why was it difficult for him to understand what Jesus said?

What do we know about Nicodemus? “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him’” (John 3:1, 2).

Although many, if not most, of the Jewish leaders were against Jesus, Nicodemus believed that He was from God. Later he defended Jesus: “Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, ‘Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?’” (John 7:50, 51). Later, Nicodemus helped to bury Jesus: “After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds” (John 19:38, 39).

Nicodemus was an upright man who wanted to do the will of God. Yet, it was difficult for him to understand what Jesus said: “‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?’” (John 3:3, 4).

A religious man like Nicodemus tends to think he is already acceptable to God. Jesus indicated to Nicodemus, however, that he was not fit for God’s kingdom, as he was! On another occasion Jesus taught that one must repent and become humble like a little child to enter God’s kingdom (Matthew 18:1-5). Now He says one must be born anew!

There are many religious people today who do not know how one can be born again or what this means. Many even who call themselves ‘born-again Christians’ reject what the Bible says about the rebirth.

Jesus clarifies how one can be born again: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Jesus refers to baptism.

Paul wrote: “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). After baptism we walk ‘in newness of life’.

Baptism is ‘the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit’: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

Baptism is not a meritorious work, but a gift of God’s grace. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are regenerated, we are renewed, when we are immersed into the body of Christ: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Baptism must be based on faith and repentance. Jesus promised: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). Peter commanded: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Many religious people are outside the kingdom because they have never been born again. They think they are acceptable to God because they are religious. They may depend on some superficial form of baptism, different from the baptism we read about in the New Testament.

We all should carefully consider whether we have been born of water and the Spirit because otherwise we have no part in the kingdom of God.

How can any form of baptism be valid if it differs from the baptism Jesus commanded? We will discuss two examples.

If your alleged baptism occurred when you were a baby, you have not been born of water and the Spirit. You are still outside the kingdom.

How do I know? Because you were not baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (even if those words were pronounced) because ‘in the name of’ means ‘by the authority of’ and nothing in the Scriptures authorizes infant baptism.

At the time of the ritual, you did not believe, and you had not repented. You did not even know what was happening. It was not your decision, it was the decision of your parents. How could something so different from New Testament baptism be valid?

It was an empty, worthless ritual based on the traditions of men, rather than on the word of God. What Jesus says applies to your denomination: “In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

If your alleged baptism was an immersion that was viewed as separate from the rebirth, you have not been born of water and the Spirit. You are outside the kingdom.

How do I know? Because you were not baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because ‘in the name of’ means ‘by the authority of’ and nothing in the Scriptures authorizes a baptism in water separate from the rebirth.

If your denomination practices a ‘water baptism’ separate from ‘spiritual baptism,’ you have not been born again because according to Ephesians 4:5 there is “one baptism” and Jesus defines that one baptism as a rebirth, a birth by water and Spirit.

Denominations that immerse merely ‘as an outward sign’ (as they call it) do not baptize ‘for the remission of sins’ as commanded by the Holy Spirit through Peter in Acts 2:38.

They do not baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because their form of baptism has not been authorized by God in the Scriptures.

If you thought your immersion in water was separate from your spiritual rebirth, you have not been born of water and the Spirit as commanded by Christ. You have not been born again and are outside the kingdom.

It was an empty, worthless ritual based on the commandments of men, rather than on the word of God. The words of Jesus apply to your denomination: “In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

Jesus said: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). How can one be born anew? How can one be born of water and the Spirit? Jesus and His apostles give the answer: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading for May 4 and 5 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading for May 4 and 5

World  English  Bible

May 4
Deuteronomy 23, 24
Deu 23:1 He who is wounded in the stones, or has his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the assembly of Yahweh.
Deu 23:2 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of Yahweh; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of Yahweh.
Deu 23:3 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of Yahweh; even to the tenth generation shall none belonging to them enter into the assembly of Yahweh forever:
Deu 23:4 because they didn't meet you with bread and with water in the way, when you came forth out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.
Deu 23:5 Nevertheless Yahweh your God wouldn't listen to Balaam; but Yahweh your God turned the curse into a blessing to you, because Yahweh your God loved you.
Deu 23:6 You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.
Deu 23:7 You shall not abhor an Edomite; for he is your brother: you shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you lived as a foreigner in his land.
Deu 23:8 The children of the third generation who are born to them shall enter into the assembly of Yahweh.
Deu 23:9 When you go forth in camp against your enemies, then you shall keep yourselves from every evil thing.
Deu 23:10 If there is among you any man who is not clean by reason of that which happens him by night, then shall he go outside of the camp. He shall not come within the camp:
Deu 23:11 but it shall be, when evening comes on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he shall come within the camp.
Deu 23:12 You shall have a place also outside of the camp, where you shall go forth abroad:
Deu 23:13 and you shall have a paddle among your weapons; and it shall be, when you sit down abroad, you shall dig therewith, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you:
Deu 23:14 for Yahweh your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you, and to give up your enemies before you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that he may not see an unclean thing in you, and turn away from you.
Deu 23:15 You shall not deliver to his master a servant who is escaped from his master to you:
Deu 23:16 he shall dwell with you, in the midst of you, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it pleases him best: you shall not oppress him.
Deu 23:17 There shall be no prostitute of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
Deu 23:18 You shall not bring the hire of a prostitute, or the wages of a dog, into the house of Yahweh your God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination to Yahweh your God.
Deu 23:19 You shall not lend on interest to your brother; interest of money, interest of food, interest of anything that is lent on interest:
Deu 23:20 to a foreigner you may lend on interest; but to your brother you shall not lend on interest, that Yahweh your God may bless you in all that you put your hand to, in the land where you go in to possess it.
Deu 23:21 When you shall vow a vow to Yahweh your God, you shall not be slack to pay it: for Yahweh your God will surely require it of you; and it would be sin in you.
Deu 23:22 But if you shall forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in you.
Deu 23:23 That which is gone out of your lips you shall observe and do; according as you have vowed to Yahweh your God, a freewill offering, which you have promised with your mouth.
Deu 23:24 When you come into your neighbor's vineyard, then you may eat of grapes your fill at your own pleasure; but you shall not put any in your vessel.
Deu 23:25 When you come into your neighbor's standing grain, then you may pluck the ears with your hand; but you shall not move a sickle to your neighbor's standing grain.

Deu 24:1 When a man takes a wife, and marries her, then it shall be, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
Deu 24:2 When she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.
Deu 24:3 If the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, who took her to be his wife;
Deu 24:4 her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before Yahweh: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance.
Deu 24:5 When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, neither shall he be assigned any business: he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken.
Deu 24:6 No man shall take the mill or the upper millstone to pledge; for he takes a man's life to pledge.
Deu 24:7 If a man be found stealing any of his brothers of the children of Israel, and he deal with him as a slave, or sell him; then that thief shall die: so you shall put away the evil from the midst of you.
Deu 24:8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that you observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so you shall observe to do.
Deu 24:9 Remember what Yahweh your God did to Miriam, by the way as you came forth out of Egypt.
Deu 24:10 When you do lend your neighbor any manner of loan, you shall not go into his house to get his pledge.
Deu 24:11 You shall stand outside, and the man to whom you do lend shall bring forth the pledge outside to you.
Deu 24:12 If he be a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge;
Deu 24:13 you shall surely restore to him the pledge when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his garment, and bless you: and it shall be righteousness to you before Yahweh your God.
Deu 24:14 You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he be of your brothers, or of your foreigners who are in your land within your gates:
Deu 24:15 in his day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down on it; for he is poor, and sets his heart on it: lest he cry against you to Yahweh, and it be sin to you.
Deu 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Deu 24:17 You shall not wrest the justice due to the foreigner, or to the fatherless, nor take the widow's clothing to pledge;
Deu 24:18 but you shall remember that you were a bondservant in Egypt, and Yahweh your God redeemed you there: therefore I command you to do this thing.
Deu 24:19 When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgot a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to get it: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that Yahweh your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
Deu 24:20 When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
Deu 24:21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not glean it after yourselves: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
Deu 24:22 You shall remember that you were a bondservant in the land of Egypt: therefore I command you to do this thing.
May 5
Deuteronomy 25, 26

Deu 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come to judgment, and the judges judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked;
Deu 25:2 and it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his wickedness, by number.
Deu 25:3 Forty stripes he may give him, he shall not exceed; lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then your brother should seem vile to you.
Deu 25:4 You shall not muzzle the ox when he treads out the grain.
Deu 25:5 If brothers dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside to a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in to her, and take her to him as wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her.
Deu 25:6 It shall be, that the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother who is dead, that his name not be blotted out of Israel.
Deu 25:7 If the man doesn't want to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuses to raise up to his brother a name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.
Deu 25:8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak to him: and if he stand, and say, I don't want to take her;
Deu 25:9 then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say, So shall it be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house.
Deu 25:10 His name shall be called in Israel, The house of him who has his shoe untied.
Deu 25:11 When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draws near to deliver her husband out of the hand of him who strikes him, and puts forth her hand, and takes him by the secrets;
Deu 25:12 then you shall cut off her hand, your eye shall have no pity.
Deu 25:13 You shall not have in your bag diverse weights, a great and a small.
Deu 25:14 You shall not have in your house diverse measures, a great and a small.
Deu 25:15 You shall have a perfect and just weight. You shall have a perfect and just measure, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Deu 25:16 For all who do such things, even all who do unrighteously, are an abomination to Yahweh your God.
Deu 25:17 Remember what Amalek did to you by the way as you came forth out of Egypt;
Deu 25:18 how he met you by the way, and struck the hindmost of you, all who were feeble behind you, when you were faint and weary; and he didn't fear God.
Deu 25:19 Therefore it shall be, when Yahweh your God has given you rest from all your enemies all around, in the land which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it, that you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under the sky; you shall not forget.

Deu 26:1 It shall be, when you are come in to the land which Yahweh your God gives you for an inheritance, and possess it, and dwell therein,
Deu 26:2 that you shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you shall bring in from your land that Yahweh your God gives you; and you shall put it in a basket, and shall go to the place which Yahweh your God shall choose, to cause his name to dwell there.
Deu 26:3 You shall come to the priest who shall be in those days, and tell him, I profess this day to Yahweh your God, that I am come to the land which Yahweh swore to our fathers to give us.
Deu 26:4 The priest shall take the basket out of your hand, and set it down before the altar of Yahweh your God.
Deu 26:5 You shall answer and say before Yahweh your God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father; and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous.
Deu 26:6 The Egyptians dealt ill with us, and afflicted us, and laid on us hard bondage:
Deu 26:7 and we cried to Yahweh, the God of our fathers, and Yahweh heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression;
Deu 26:8 and Yahweh brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror, and with signs, and with wonders;
Deu 26:9 and he has brought us into this place, and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Deu 26:10 Now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, Yahweh, have given me. You shall set it down before Yahweh your God, and worship before Yahweh your God.
Deu 26:11 You shall rejoice in all the good which Yahweh your God has given to you, and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the foreigner who is in the midst of you.
Deu 26:12 When you have made an end of tithing all the tithe of your increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the foreigner, to the fatherless, and to the widow, that they may eat within your gates, and be filled.
Deu 26:13 You shall say before Yahweh your God, I have put away the holy things out of my house, and also have given them to the Levite, and to the foreigner, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all your commandment which you have commanded me: I have not transgressed any of your commandments, neither have I forgotten them:
Deu 26:14 I have not eaten of it in my mourning, neither have I put away of it, being unclean, nor given of it for the dead: I have listened to the voice of Yahweh my God; I have done according to all that you have commanded me.
Deu 26:15 Look down from your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless your people Israel, and the ground which you have given us, as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Deu 26:16 This day Yahweh your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances: you shall therefore keep and do them with all your heart, and with all your soul.
Deu 26:17 You have declared Yahweh this day to be your God, and that you would walk in his ways, and keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his ordinances, and listen to his voice:
Deu 26:18 and Yahweh has declared you this day to be a people for his own possession, as he has promised you, and that you should keep all his commandments;
Deu 26:19 and to make you high above all nations that he has made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that you may be a holy people to Yahweh your God, as he has spoken.
May 4, 5
Luke 19

Luk 19:1 He entered and was passing through Jericho.
Luk 19:2 There was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
Luk 19:3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, and couldn't because of the crowd, because he was short.
Luk 19:4 He ran on ahead, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way.
Luk 19:5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."
Luk 19:6 He hurried, came down, and received him joyfully.
Luk 19:7 When they saw it, they all murmured, saying, "He has gone in to lodge with a man who is a sinner."
Luk 19:8 Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. If I have wrongfully exacted anything of anyone, I restore four times as much."
Luk 19:9 Jesus said to him, "Today, salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.
Luk 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luk 19:11 As they heard these things, he went on and told a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the Kingdom of God would be revealed immediately.
Luk 19:12 He said therefore, "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luk 19:13 He called ten servants of his, and gave them ten mina coins, and told them, 'Conduct business until I come.'
Luk 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent an envoy after him, saying, 'We don't want this man to reign over us.'
Luk 19:15 "It happened when he had come back again, having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by conducting business.
Luk 19:16 The first came before him, saying, 'Lord, your mina has made ten more minas.'
Luk 19:17 "He said to him, 'Well done, you good servant! Because you were found faithful with very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.'
Luk 19:18 "The second came, saying, 'Your mina, Lord, has made five minas.'
Luk 19:19 "So he said to him, 'And you are to be over five cities.'
Luk 19:20 Another came, saying, 'Lord, behold, your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief,
Luk 19:21 for I feared you, because you are an exacting man. You take up that which you didn't lay down, and reap that which you didn't sow.'
Luk 19:22 "He said to him, 'Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant! You knew that I am an exacting man, taking up that which I didn't lay down, and reaping that which I didn't sow.
Luk 19:23 Then why didn't you deposit my money in the bank, and at my coming, I might have earned interest on it?'
Luk 19:24 He said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina away from him, and give it to him who has the ten minas.'
Luk 19:25 "They said to him, 'Lord, he has ten minas!'
Luk 19:26 'For I tell you that to everyone who has, will more be given; but from him who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away from him.
Luk 19:27 But bring those enemies of mine who didn't want me to reign over them here, and kill them before me.' "
Luk 19:28 Having said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Luk 19:29 It happened, when he drew near to Bethsphage and Bethany, at the mountain that is called Olivet, he sent two of his disciples,
Luk 19:30 saying, "Go your way into the village on the other side, in which, as you enter, you will find a colt tied, whereon no man ever yet sat. Untie it, and bring it.
Luk 19:31 If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' say to him: 'The Lord needs it.' "
Luk 19:32 Those who were sent went away, and found things just as he had told them.
Luk 19:33 As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?"
Luk 19:34 They said, "The Lord needs it."
Luk 19:35 They brought it to Jesus. They threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Jesus on them.
Luk 19:36 As he went, they spread their cloaks in the way.
Luk 19:37 As he was now getting near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen,
Luk 19:38 saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!"
Luk 19:39 Some of the Pharisees from the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
Luk 19:40 He answered them, "I tell you that if these were silent, the stones would cry out."
Luk 19:41 When he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it,
Luk 19:42 saying, "If you, even you, had known today the things which belong to your peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes.
Luk 19:43 For the days will come on you, when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, surround you, hem you in on every side,
Luk 19:44 and will dash you and your children within you to the ground. They will not leave in you one stone on another, because you didn't know the time of your visitation."
Luk 19:45 He entered into the temple, and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it,
Luk 19:46 saying to them, "It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of robbers'!"
Luk 19:47 He was teaching daily in the temple, but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people sought to destroy him.
Luk 19:48 They couldn't find what they might do, for all the people hung on to every word that he said.